• TNB: Climbing's Big Mistake
  • TNB: Trad Dads and Dad Bods
  • TNB: Do the Right Thing
  • TNB: Big Wall Soloing Sustenance – Cookies vs. Bugs
  • TNB: When Your Rope Falls Off—and 5 Ways to Prevent the Nightmare
  • TNB: Before I Die - What Would Climbers Think?
  • TNB: Raphael Slawinski - Firsthand Account of Everest Earthquake
  • TNB: Point Break - Sharma, Andrada on the Big Screen
  • TNB: Muscle Shoals - Rock and Soul
  • TNB: Naked Soloist is Saner Than Me
  • TNB: The Hard Climb to Heaven
  • TNB: Summer Camp
  • TNB: Suicide in Our Sights
  • TNB: Ethan Pringle's 10 Tips for Sending Your Project
  • TNB: Hawaii Rocks - Totally Aloha
  • TNB: PointGate - Why Comp Climbing Is Not The Future
  • TNB: My First Epic
  • TNB: Eight Ways to Avoid Braking Bad - The Art of the Soft Catch
  • TNB: #Dawnwall and The Creation of Alex Honnlove
  • TNB: Vision Quest - Benji Fink and Mexico’s Steepest Big Wall
  • TNB: The New Dawn (Wall) of Climbing
  • TNB: The Top 5 Weekend Whippers of 2014 (Plus the Comments)
  • TNB: 10 Tips for Jolene Kay, Professional Climber (and Hot Actress)
  • TNB: The Story Behind the Craziest of Rescues
  • TNB: The Risk of Climbing
  • TNB: How to Get Stronger by Doing Nothing for 5 Minutes a Day
  • TNB: Eight Ways to Improve Your Footwork
  • TNB: In Praise of the Weekend Warrior
  • TNB: Joe Kinder Visits the World's Hardest Cave
  • TNB: Celebrating Insomnia in Chamonix
  • TNB: Run, Rabbit - Hermann Gollner, 71, Cranks Pump-O-Rama (5.13a)
  • TNB: Five Best Photos of 2014
  • TNB: Clip Like A Pro - 5 Tips from Sasha DiGiulian and Sean McColl
  • TNB: Five Things Every Gym Climber Must Know About Climbing Outside
  • TNB: Still Jeff Lowe
  • TNB: Moving Over Stone With Doug Robinson
  • TNB: Wheels Up—The Top 5 Climbing Rigs
  • TNB: Is K2 The New Everest?
  • TNB: Things—Besides Us, That Is—That Fall
  • TNB: When Homemade Gear Works, Sorta
  • TNB: The Outsiders
  • TNB: R.I.P. Homero Gutierrez Villarreal - The Padrino of El Potrero
  • TNB: A Short Talk with Sierra Blair-Coyle
  • TNB: Ian Dory, Ninja, or The Craziest Thing I Ever Seen
  • TNB: The Best Crag Dogs of All Time
  • TNB: 5 Ways to Make People Love Your Routes
  • TNB: Hudon and Jones, and Don't Forget It!
  • TNB: Climbing's Tribal Rites
  • TNB: Sasha DiGiulian and Alex Johnson On How to Be a Modern Pro
  • TNB: Is Dean Potter A Bad Father?
  • TNB: Silly Places We’ve Slept - Tales of Unplanned Bivies
  • TNB: Forgotten Hero - Frank Sacherer 1940-1978
  • TNB: The World-Class Weekend Warrior – Martin Keller Climbs V15
  • TNB: Everest Sherpas No Longer Willing to “Grin and Bear It”
  • TNB: Hardheaded Helmet Lesson Learned
  • TNB: Six Most Awesome Jobs for Climbers
  • TNB: The Coolest Climbing Deal Breaker
  • TNB: Sharma and Glowacz Send World’s Steepest Rock Climb
  • TNB: An Encounter with a Legend - Patrick Edlinger, Plus A Whipper Vid
  • TNB: Six Things Every Climber Should Do Before They Die
  • TNB: Falling from the Top
  • TNB: Weekend Whipper
  • TNB: Band of Crushers
  • TNB: Charlie Porter, We Hardly Knew You
  • TNB: Climbing's Greatest Route Names
  • TNB: Hot Women Die and Have Sex on Everest
  • TNB: The Great Tragedy at Carderock
  • TNB: Thoughts On Death, and Last Words
  • TNB: Climbing's Next Big Story
  • TNB: Next Level? Honnold Pushes the Game on El Sendero Luminoso
  • TNB: Jeff Lowe Invented the Sport
  • TNB: The Most Popular Weekend Whippers of the Year
  • TNB: If Ondra Isn't The Best Climber In The World, Who Is?
  • TNB: Storm Years or Typhoon? The Biggest Issue in Climbing
  • TNB: Jim Bridwell Speaks
  • TNB: Honnold's Biggest Solo
  • TNB: Death on Forbidden Peak - Was the NPS Complicit?
  • TNB: Ice Climbing Goes to Sochi Olympics
  • TNB: When Gear Attacks
  • TNB: 8a.nu: The Best Climber in the World is the One with the Most Points
  • TNB: Shutdown: Illegal Climbers in Yosemite—Ninjas or Criminals?
  • TNB: Who is the Best Climber in the World?
  • TNB: The New Courage in a Rucksack
  • TNB: Unsolved Mystery - The Ten Sleep Shooting
  • TNB: The Pad Problem - Honnold, Kehl on Headpoints and Highballs
  • TNB: Travels with Delaney Miller - National Champ Turns to Rock
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  • TNB: Love on the Road
  • TNB: Is Pakistan Safe for Climbers?
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  • TNB: Climbing's Next Level
  • TNB: Best in Show - Brand New Gear from the Outdoor Retailer Show
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  • TNB: Under Pressure - Trotter and Honnold On How Bets Can Help You Send
  • TNB: The Tragedy of Tito Traversa
  • TNB: DR's Crazy Brain Puzzle. Get It Correct or Else.
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  • TNB: Cry of the Colorado Fussy Snivel
  • TNB: Mystery Solved!
  • TNB: The Mystery of Moses Tower - Help Answer a 25-Year-Old Question
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  • TNB: Erasing Midnight Lightning
  • TNB: Mayhem - Crawling, Balling & Brawling on the Evere$t Soap Opera
  • TNB: Watching the Boston Marathon
  • TNB: Chasing the Devil's Snort
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  • TNB: Super Unknown - Austin Dark Horse Establishes 5.14d in Random Texas Cave
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  • TNB: The Big Freaking Deal, Ain't Bouldering
  • TNB: Honnold's Achilles' Heel
  • TNB: He's Either Crazy or a Poet
  • TNB: The Fish Cheat and the Prince of Climbing
  • TNB: A Letter from Santa... I mean Sharma
  • TNB: Traveler's Advisory - El Potrero Chico, Mexico
  • TNB: A Year Ago - Athol
  • TNB: Gun Control
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  • TNB: Derek Hersey's Magic Carpet
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  • TNB: House Rules
  • TNB: Five Things I Don't Hate About Climbing
  • TNB: Metro-Pointing
  • TNB: Beast in the East
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    Whipper of the Month
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    Weekend Whipper: Alastair McDowell's Los Indignados (M7) Screamer

    TNB: Hawaii Rocks - Totally Aloha


    Justin Ridgely bouldering (V6) on one of the many fine Oahu blocks. Photo by Ryan Moss.Last week my wife, Hannah, was invited to the Haleakala Waldorf School on Maui, Hawaii, to give a presentation on early childhood development. I was able to break away, too, and join her.

    “Too bad there’s no climbing in Hawaii.”

    These words were repeated to me over and over again by my co-workers, friends and Facebook community. Sometimes people would say (or write), “There’s climbing but it’s super sharp,” or, “It’s all choss,” or simply, “Don’t bother, dude.” So, despite my certifiable OCD condition when it comes to this sport, I went into the trip with low expectations.

    The first two Hawaiian words I learned were aloha and mahalo. It started on the plane with the pillow-lipped, brown-skinned airline stewards—laid back, thick-armed men and smiling women with straight white teeth and good posture. They all used aloha and mahalo.

    By the time we landed in Maui I had mahalo figured out. It was the Hawaiian word for thanks, appreciation, gratitude. But even by the fifth day of the trip, driving from the upcountry town of Kula toward Lahaina to check out Maui’s rumored bouldering, I had no clue what aloha meant. People seemed to be using it for hello and goodbye, peace, love, compassion, what’s up, right on, thanks, solidarity, bitchin’ and go for it. There was even a hand signal for aloha called the shaka sign—thumb and pinky extended, three middle fingers curled (and if you’re really feeling the aloha, you rotate your hand so that the extended fingers pivot like a sprinkler head).

    I met Justin Ridgely, the owner of the Oahu climbing gym, Volcanic Rock Gym, at the Macgregor Point Lighthouse. He and two other Oahu climbers, Curtis Loo and Tyler Williams, had flown to Maui that morning at 5 a.m. just to give me the tour. Belying Hawaii’s reputation as being one of those god-forsaken places like Kansas and Florida with no climbing, Ridgely told me that he and his friends on Oahu have been finding lots of blocks—over 50 areas with dozens of problems. Triads (one of the Oahu areas) alone has 50 boulders with established lines. Ridgely has also made five trips to Maui, a 30-minute fight, and established a few classic lines including a beautiful, 20-foot long, wave-sculpted roof with a good landing called Grandmas (V9).

    The day I visited we scrambled to a sea-level cave just below the lighthouse, a mile or two east of Grandmas and sessioned a new V6 with a heads-up landing. Ridgely sent and called the problem The Viking after a geo-cache we found at the base.

    Curtis Loo getting started on a brand new V3 at Grandpas, Maui, Hawaii.The rock was OK. Blocky basaltic greenschist reminiscent of the Bay Area’s Mickey’s Beach. A little gritty, a bit friable, but—in contrast to so many lauded bouldering zones in the continental United States—the bouldering I did in Maui required zero prep. No prying or scrubbing or building landings. We just hopped on and worked out the sequence. A couple of holds broke. We used a boar-bristle brush to scrub some sand from the footholds, but no big deal, especially when humpbacked whales were spouting just off shore, scooped tails flopping up like, well, shaka signs. I looked along the rocky shoreline and saw another potential bouldering cave at water level. It appeared that the cliff was etched along the coast for miles promising lots more routes and boulder problems, especially given the obvious stoke of the locals.

    The thought made me smile and I realized for the thousandth time that good climbing is more about the vibe—the amiability of your comrades and the pure love of moving your body in a dance choreographed by nature—than it is about the quality of the rock. Just then a sea turtle head as big as a pineapple popped out of the shimmering, crystal-clear water and looked at me with wise, sentient eyes and it just came out of me—I whispered “aloha” to the turtle.

    I glanced around furtively to make sure nobody had heard me being so warm and fuzzy and luckily nobody had. The turtle, on the other hand, eyed me with obvious interest, fanning his front flippers through the faded-jean colored water, studying me over his narrow beak.

    “Aloha, braddah,” he said holding up one flipper and rotating it in a sort of fingerless shaka sign.

    Wow. I’d heard Hawaii was magical—in fact, the term “magical” is employed almost as often as aloha and mahalo—but I had not realized that the animals actually spoke!

    We moved our party to the parking area above Grandmas and Justin pointed uphill to a squatty cluster of ocher boulders. On a whim, we decided to hike up there. Five minutes later we were feeling the holds on two 15-foot boulders of near-perfect, pocketed, volcanic tuff similar to the stone found at El Diente near Guadalajara, Mexico—better, for example, than most of the tuff at Smith Rock, Oregon. Texture like 40-grit sandpaper, comfortable sloped holds, incut top outs, flat grassy landings, afternoon shade, logical sit-down starts protectable with one regular-sized pad. Kinda perfect, really. Kinda … magical.

    The boulders, which we called the Grandpas, are situated at the start of a five-mile trail rife with drainages and other clusters of ocher boulders. We put up eight new problems from V0 to V7 with the king-line arête, probably V8 to V10, still waiting for somebody with three pads and lots of “geev’ um.”

    At the end of the day we sat in the warm sun drinking Budweisers and talking about the future of Hawaiian rock climbing. In contrast to the reports, I’d found a literal “choke” of “da’ kine” rock on Maui and an eager, super-friendly crew of “kamaainas” out there developing it.

    So the next time anybody asks you about the climbing in Hawaii, you can tell them that it’s there “fo’ shua,” and it’s totally aloha, braddah.

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